Members of Brekalo family like to describe themselves as nomads. For half of the year, they live in the Croatian Capital of Zagreb, while the other half is reserved for remote lands of Gorski Kotar. There, in the small hamlet of Zelin Mrzlovodicki, they harvest the tasty strawberry species known as Irma.
For the last eleven years, Brekalos are investing in this picturesque farm, which is completely ecological. Almost 12 000 strawberry bushes are watered by a local stream, while the soil is fertilized with mixture of nettle and elder plants. Surrounded with thick forests of Gorski Kotar, their estate looks like a landscape from a fable.
“For numerous years, we’d come to Gorski Kotar to refuel our mental batteries,” the couple explains to CN source. “We’d spent our days picking up mushrooms and walking through the woods. Then one day, we just got an idea to make our own strawberry farm.”
They knew having an ecological farm won’t be an easy task. Brekalos refused to use the modern chemical compounds, and treat their products with nothing but natural means. “People like us are Don Quixote knights of the 21st century,” the couple giggles, adding that their irmas can be safely consumed by pregnant women, those breastfeeding and children. “We are the only strawberry of the kind in Primorsko-Goranska County.”
This year’s harvest was especially fruitful, and Brekalo family will work on the farm up to mid-October. Until then, they will supply the local market with their products, and will be responsible for numerous tasty salads, risottos, pasta dishes and cake delicacies. The winter is reserved for strawberry jams, of course.
Although people usually associate Croatia with coastal enjoyments in the summer, the lovely outdoors of mountainous Gorski Kotar are also worthy of one’s vacation time. If you happen to be near Zelin Mrzlovodicki during your Croatian travels, don’t hesitate to enjoy the sweet taste of Brezicki Irma strawberries.